Structures Stronger Than Individuals
“She gives the mother a voice.”
Meet Swedish Elin Cullhed, who, in her award-winning novel Euphoria revisits the life and faith of her fellow writer Sylvia Plath. Read more …
“I was interested in motherhood, marriage and love. Plath is always tied to her suicide and death. I wanted to write around that and describe her alive – this creative, competent woman who was a writer and an artist.”
Cullhed was drawn to Sylvia Plath’s life, not because of her tragic end to which there are already a vast number of references in literary history, but rather the chaotic life as a mother, woman and writer. Cullhed’s fascination with Plath began when she found herself in a similar situation with young children and a husband who is also a writer, where the loneliness and selfishness that being a writer requires were seriously put to the test. In Euphoria, Cullhed talks about the power struggle between Sylvia Plath and her husband Ted Hughes, who in her time was seen as literary superior, and the novel simultaneously becomes a critique of motherhood’s overshadowing element of women’s lives, where the woman’s career is downgraded in favour of the man’s.
“There, in that phase of life, I realised that I had to rewrite Sylvia Plath. I understood her final year, her exhaustion. I understood that Sylvia Plath, behind the madness label, was a struggling toddler mom. She had two toddlers and was extremely lonely. Anyone in her situation would go bonkers.”
Elin Cullhed (b. 1983) is a Swedish author who made her debut in 2016. Euphoria is her first novel for adults. It won the 2021 August Prize, Sweden’s most prestigious literary award, and was a finalist for the Premio Strega Europeo Prize.
Elin Cullhed was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner in June 2022. The interview took place at Cullheds Danish publisher, Politikens Forlag, in Copenhagen.
Camera: Jarl Therkelsen Kaldan
Edited by: Jarl Therkelsen Kaldan
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2022
Louisiana Channel is supported by Den A.P. Møllerske Støttefond, Ny Carlsbergfondet, C.L. Davids Fond og Samling and Fritz Hansen.
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